By Kayla Berenson
CHARLOTTE – Some Providence High School seniors exercised their right to vote for the first time Sept. 10, despite being under 18.
Lauren Mond recalled learning about a North Carolina law that allows 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 by the date of the general election in a civics class during her sophomore year. Two years later, she took advantage of the opportunity.
Though she couldn’t vote in the special election, she cast her vote for the mayoral and city council at-large primaries.
“I was really excited,” Mond said. “I was already pre-registered through the DMV when I was 16, so I got my registration card and went with my mom today… I felt like I was making an impact.”
Providence High School senior Jules Oringel also voted in the primary election.
Oringel is a young activist and has traveled the country with her nonprofit, Return Home Supplies, which fights to stop gun violence. After encouraging people across the country to vote on policies that matter to them, she is excited to finally be able to do the same thing, even at the local level.
“I don’t see that we are making much progress to see that we are getting more regulations and laws for gun sellers in our city and for our state,” Oringel said. “It’s hard going to school every day knowing that nothing is being done.”
Oringel hopes to see her generation get excited and motivated to vote and get involved in politics.
“The young people have the power to turn any election if we just show up at the polls,” Oringel said. “As America’s next generation who’s coming up and will be impacted by legislation, it’s essential that we as youth raise our voices for the things we’re passionate about. We’re never going to be able to change anything about our laws and our leadership if we don’t vote now. That’s a big issue because this will affect us for the rest of our lives.”